soup, a hamburger, watermelon, bananas, Ensure, Boost, Red Bull, Mountain Dew,
Coke, Ginger Ale, saltines, coffee, boiled potatoes, a popsicle. (I skipped the
Margaritas at the Magaritaville aid station)
- the 1st thing I consumed when I was done? A Beer
- what do you think about?
a good percentage of the time I was running with someone so I talked to a lot of
people - and I knew quite a few people that I had met at other ultras (some even
asked where Keith was). When I wasn't with anyone I thought...
- am I drinking and eating enough?
- how can I get my weight down before the next medical check.
- am I peeing enough?
- did I miss a trail marker?
- am I on pace to meet Bobbi at the time I told her.
- why would I want to run 100 miles?
- I don't have a real answer for that except - the feeling I had after crossing
the finish line was incredibly emotional. After I crossed the finish line Bobbi
hugged me and we both cried. It was really special to be able to share the
experience with a friend. I can't thank Bobbi enough.
- would I or will I do it again?
Thanks to everyone for your support and good wishes, especially Bobbi.
Marine Corps Marathon - October 29th, 2006
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon-Report from the field
While it is all still fresh in my mind...
While I have run many long distance and trail races, this was my first marathon
in 25 years. Last time I ran a marathon I was 20 years old and ran a PR that will probably
never be repeated or broken again. So, this was a test of how well I could do at the race and afterwards. All in all, it was great racing day, lots of wonderful spectators, a nice course, a little unexpected adventure, and a great uphill finish!
The Marine's motto is Sempre Fi (always faithful). The Marine Corps Marathon's (MCM) motto should be, Sempre Patientia (always patient). In short, this was a marathon before a marathon. The Expo was amazingly crowded. Lines that made disney world look like a walk in the park. Of course it didn't help that we showed up at 11:30 when it was supposed to be the busiest time but from what I heard, it was busy no matter when you went. We got through the expo with just enough time to get the bib number, etc. and make it to a pre-arranged lunch with other fast trackers. Met up with Eldon Monday and his family, Chris Dervishian and his wife, Suzie Small and her husband and my support team consisting of my wife and our cousin. Lunch was great and Kathleen had made runners with medals
gingerbread cookies for all to share for dessert. Some of us tried to go back to see if we could get into the expo now that it was more like 5 p.m. but the lines were even longer than the morning. So everyone went to their respective accommodations to chill.
What can I say about a perfect day. It was just absolutely gorgeous outside especially since the day before was so nasty with heavy winds and rain. Met up with Eldon at the bag drop off and after some hilarious warm up routines (the routines were fine, watching Eldon and I trying to replicate them was another story), we made it over to the start line. Due to the over 34,000 runners, they had a two wave start which Eldon and I were in the first wave. We also got a chance to hang out with Mike Reese a little bit before the race. He is one enthusiastic fellow and some of that enthusiasm rubs off on everybody he meets. I found my pace group (3:40) and got right in for the start. Interestingly unless I missed it, the national anthem was not sung before the start. I found that a bit odd this being a military sponsored run. The start was interesting to say the least. I have never experienced so many people shoving and tripping each other as was the case here. It was as if many of the folks were not told that this is a marathon and not a 5K. Any how, I counted at least 5 people who tripped and fell and got stepped on in the first 3-4 miles. Watch out for those water stops. Also, the second wavers told us that their start got delayed due to a medical emergency toward the end of the first pack. Apparently someone had a heart attack right around the start area. As for me, I was just flying, having a great time, staying with my pace group and totally on time. The MCM course has some small hills at the beginning before one starts getting into Washington itself. The hills were great because folks slowed down and it gave me a bit of a room to breath. All was totally in control until mile 18 or so. To all beautiful days a bit of rain must fall.
I managed to get myself into a group of runners in a narrow part of the course. These guys and gals were interesting because each exhibited arm movements not necessary at mile 18 of a marathon (it is not a sprint finish). There was the lady who was moving her arms as if she was surrounded by bees (there were no bees or anything else flying around). There was the guy who had his arms stretched way out in front as if that would keep the runners at arms length (perhaps he had an imaginary friend he was running behind). There was another lady whose arms took a full swing back as she ran as if she was running and swimming at the same time. Then I met my maker. The guy whose elbows moved back and forth with such force that one could not help but say to him, you know we are running 8 minute/mile pace not 5 minute/miles around the track! This was quickly looking like a group that had been sent out to exile for a reason. I was in the middle of them and just had to find a way out. Any how, "elbow man" being tall and yours truly being not gifted with height, as I tried to get through this groups of outcast runners, I got an elbow straight and hard on
the forehead. For a minute, I didn't think anything of it but then, dizziness, feeling sick to my stomach and a huge headache forced me over to the side. Fortunately, I don't think I tripped anybody on my way over to grass land. Grass I did find and fell over for a few minutes until I got my bearings. Got back up and started to move again, I wasn't feeling sick
anymore but the headache was there and worse, I had completely lost my pace group. But running was the business of the day so I got back into a bit of a rhythm again albeit, slower than prior to the "elbow man" episode. This is the point I realized I no longer possessed the heart of a champion. I am not sure what one would label my heart but I was just at this point focused on finishing and not being too embarrassed by my time.
By mile 20, we started to hit the 14th street bridge. I saw the 3:50 pace group go by. I tried
but it seemed as if I was stuck in mud and they were on wheels. I saw Matt and Marisa go by and we chatted for a couple of minutes but they too seemed like they possessed wheels. They just looked great and quickly vanished ahead. The bridge is something else. It seemed as if it would go on forever. They were even giving away free posters of it. No thanks... why would I want to be reminded of the pain and misery of that stretch of the race. The leg cramps were starting to show their ugly heads but the spectators were wonderful including the lady who was handing out tootsie rolls. Man, did I love that woman. I wanted to go back and give her a big hug and thank her for being out there in the middle of the bridge. To cut this part short, the rest of the race was fairly uneventful, leg cramps, cheering crowds who somehow saw you as being strong when inside you felt like hell, and the finish line which was up a hill much shorter than I had anticipated. So, I was 20 minutes slower than I had hoped and was on the path to do but, I finished, I didn't get hurt and had a good time.
After finishing, this is where the real hell began. Yes there were supportive crews handing out food, water, etc. but then they turned us loose toward our journey to meet up with our families and get our gear. A journey is perhaps too kind to describe what took place. Imagine two family meeting areas. How are you suppose to figure out in which one the family might be at. Imagine a bridge of about 12 foot wide with thousands of people, bicycles, dogs, standing family members, runners that just ran 26 miles and some are feeling sick, and add to that just the right mixture of sun beaming down on you and you have what one would consider a perfect storm. Remember the MCM motto: Sempre Patientia!!! Just keep repeating it and it will keep you from going crazy.
Let's focus on the real positives. The Fast Trackers I was keeping tab on all finished and had a good time. Suzie who was suffering from leg pains a few weeks ago, finished and looked great. Gerry, Marisa, Matt, Mike , Eldon and Chris all finished with great results.
I can't say enough about my wonderful wife and our cousin (Heidi) for their patience and support during this race. They and all the other families including Eldon's two young children had to put up with the crowds and still hung on there to see us finish. Many like Jeff (Suzie's husband) braved the metro numerous times so he could cheer her on during the various parts of the race. It is their strength and support that really gives us the power to do our best out there.
Post Race Reflections
Next time I decide to do a race with 34,000 people let's hope someone will hit me over the head before I actually sign up. Maybe Chicago and New York are better organized but this one was supposedly just as well organized. As demons came around mile 20, I tried the various Aimee visualization techniques. The color red just made me angry so I quickly got rid of that since it was not helping. I tried other colors but it was just making me dizzy and confused so I decided to just go with black and white. White was for running and black was for walking and then I switched in order to get myself confused even further. I then turned to mantras. I tried, I am strong and my brain quickly responded by: no you are not. If you were strong you would have caught up with your pace group. I tried a few other similar mantras and between the cheering crowds which doesn't give you a chance to get into your zone and my brain's immediate negative responses, they just didn't take. So I resorted to a mantra that has worked before: I can run slow. Well this did the job, I just kept on running but slower (much slower) until towards the end where I put on a real show and passed
people up the hill. I think I fooled all my fans into thinking this was nothing, except the clock which read 4:08 which told me otherwise.
The marines were amazing; helpful and supportive. I had set out to thank everyone of them I could and thank them for their service. I am proud to say that I think I pulled that off. You have to see the expression on their face when you thank them for their service. Whether one believes in the war or not, these guys and gals are deserving of our deepest respect and gratitude.
Knowing my time now, I wish I had turned around and gone back to hug the "tootsie roll" lady and thank her for being out there in the middle of the god forsaken 14th street bridge.
Worst Cheer: You are almost there. If I heard one more person cheer, you are almost there, when we are at the beginning of the bridge, I would have forced them to run the length of the bridge to find out that no, we were not almost there!
Worst Printed Cheer: Run Faster Lee! Now, I am sure this is a well meaning family member of Lee but you know, If I was Lee, I would be deflated and maybe a little angry, thinking I am not running fast enough!
Questionable Cheer: Let your inner Kenyan come out. I think this was well meaning but I thanked her and said that as far as I knew I did not have an inner Kenyan but since I had many miles ahead, I would look for it.
All in all, this was a great experience and a good welcome back to the world of marathoning for me. I am indebted to all my friends in Fast Tracks for their support, inspiration and advice. Our cousin Heidi went above and beyond the call to navigate all the various obstacles during this weekend and make this a success. My wife Kathleen was a fantastic source of strength and even though I did not hear her cheer me at the end, I am told
she was yelling at the top of her lungs that she was proud of me.
Last Sunday I ran the Chicago Marathon – with the best support team anyone could have- Stacy Antoniadis and Andi
We flew to Chicago Friday morning and we spent the afternoon at the Expo. It was held in the main exhibition hall of the McCormick center – the one normally used for international trade shows – it was huge. We checked into our hotel and had dinner in a delightful restaurant in the Italian Village.
Stacey had ran Steamtown two weeks earlier, and was still recovering. Andi was also recovering from a sequence of injuries which had prevented her from being in the race. A few weeks earlier she could barely run a mile; she ran 5 miles for the first time, in months just a few days earlier.
Despite this they both volunteered to run with me. Stacy would join me at the halfway point and Andi would run me in the last five miles.
So Saturday morning we took the train to explore and agree specific meeting points. One and a half million spectators were expected to watch the race, we wanted to be certain of the meeting locations. That afternoon Stacy and Andi went shopping in the Golden Mile, while I chilled out in the hotel, garnering my strength for the race. Later we went for dinner in the Greek section of the city – all the Italian restaurants were fully booked.
Then we discovered the weather forecast for the race was getting worse – a temperature of 36 degrees, rain and a wind of 25 mph. The temperature was good, the wind sounded unpleasant, but with rain it was going to be a nightmare – I didn’t sleep easy that night.
The forecasters were right about the temperature and the wind, but fortunately it didn’t rain.
We stayed in the official hotel for the race; it was less than half a mile from the start and finish lines. The foyer was packed with runners as we left at 7.20 am to walk to the start area. Yes, Andi left her warm cozy bed to join me at the start line. There were 35,000 runners all wearing disposable clothing and trash bags. Five minutes before the gun went off people stripped off their attire and there was a rain of sweat pants and tops flying through the air. People were trying to throw them to the side of the road – but sweat pants don’t fly very far. So they landed on us as we were standing near one side.
It only took 15 minutes to cross the line. Andi slipped through the railings to return to the hotel, and I started racing.
The first two miles were difficult; the road was covered with trash bags and discarded clothing. There seemed to be a solid wall of people in front of me, it was difficult to break through. The first mile seemed to take forever, and I realized I had another 25 to go. I had set my Garmin to show me Lap Pace. I hit lap every mile and tried to maintain a 9:20 pace, one mile at a time. There were crowds every where on the route. I high fived all the kids, thanked people and clapped for the bands. Soon the miles started ticking away, I was smiling and enjoying what was really a spectacle of 35,000 runners and over a million spectators. However my hydration plan wasn’t working. I had calculated, to the ounce, how much I would drink to stay hydrated. But my bladder was filling up and I actually stopped for a potty break – that had never happened in any previous race. It was so cold I was hardly sweating – so I started running through some of the water stops.
Elvis was there, all sorts of dance groups and various bands and cheerleaders. Before long I was approaching the half way point. It was on a corner by a pretty church with two spires.
I reached the corner, but couldn’t see Stacy and Andi – I slowed a little wondering what I would do if I couldn’t find them – but then they saw me. They both ran along side, Andi wished me luck, and Stacy and I ran on. Stacey was great, she entertained me with stories and followed me as we gingerly picked our way through the runners ahead. We ran through the Italian section and the Greek area seeing both restaurants where we had dined the previous two nights. We ran through the Old City and pretty, tree lined streets. The miles ticked by again and I was maintaining my target pace. I had tried to memorize a picture of the route, but I had lost track of it by now – I was feeling a little disorientated.
Then we saw the large Stars and Stripes which was flying close to the rendezvous with Andi. We crossed the last bridge on the course, turned a corner, and there was Andi. Stacy dropped out at that point (she enjoyed a well earned doughnut and coffee before returning to the hotel).
Andi was her normal chirpy self, chatting about the adventurous train ride she’d had with Stacy that morning. We went through China town and we were cheered on by a large dragon.
Soon we were at mile 23, I was hitting the wall. Had we just passed mile 23 or was it mile 24 – I hoped it was 24 – but it wasn’t. I kept looking at my Garmin, I knew this was the watershed of the race and I desperately wanted to maintain my pace – I was a little slow, but not bad. Andi told me to forget the “watch”, and to stop talking, just run – I wasn’t talking much anyway. Mile 24 came at last – only two miles to go. Anyone can run two miles. It was almost a straight run down Michigan Avenue to the finish.
I didn’t look at the Garmin after that. I just kept running for the medal. Andi told me to relax, and drop my shoulders – she actually put her hand on my shoulders to push them down. I ground through the next mile continuing to overtake some of the runners. Then we reached mile 25.
My legs hurt, my hip flexors were on fire. All the previous aches and pains in my feet and hamstrings I had wished away, but now nothing worked – it was just pain. I heard myself producing a pathetic whimpering noise with every breath. Andi told me to breathe normally – but I didn’t know how!
Chicago is a very well organized race. There were count down markers to the finish line – 800 meters, 600 meters… We passed 200 meters I tried to smile, but don’t know if I succeeded (the photos aren’t available yet).
We crossed the finish, but I wanted to keep running – Andi stopped me. I was still making that pathetic whimpering noise – it must have been very annoying.
I stopped my watch – 4 hr 12 minutes. WOW, I had achieved my dream goal of 4 hr 15min – that doesn’t happen very often. It was a 12 minute PR.
I thought I might become dizzy, I certainly felt a little unstable. So we picked up some food, Gatorade and water and returned to the hotel – thank God for those emergency blankets. The temperature was still only 40 degrees and it was windy.
I spent the afternoon in the hotel – and Andi and Stacy went shopping.
That night we went to the post race party, followed by celebration cocktails in the hotel.
The next morning we went to the Sears Tower to enjoy the views over Chicago. Then we added a little culture to the trip by visiting the Art Institute. The building had beautiful curving staircases – but we shuffled over to a corner to find the elevators – staircases presented me with a slight problem J
We flew home that afternoon.
All three of us want to go back to Chicago, it’s a fun city and despite the wind, a wonderful marathon. The course is flat and the organization was great – it took no time to get through the finishers chute.
I had a great race, and a fabulous weekend I’ll always remember - thanks to Stacy and Andi.
My only wish is that Andi could have been fit enough to run the whole race herself – I would have tried to keep up.
Good Luck to everyone for Marine Corp, New York, Philly, Harrisburg and all the other marathons
Stacy A's perspective of Harry's Chicago Marathon
Harry Rimmer made a PR this past weekend in Chicago, 4:12 and change. Andi and I accompanied him to the windy city...and windy it was! We had a wonderful time, I cannot say enough good stuff about that city. We three decided we are going back next year, Oct 7, mark it on your calendars. We checked out all the good spots and the nitty gritty on the city, so stick with us and you will have fun and run in style!
The day before the race was beautiful, 61 degrees, but race day was cold and windy. Thank goodness the rain stayed away. Harry ran very strong; I joined him at the half way point by St. Patrick's church and ran about 7 miles with him. Andi joined us at 20.5 and then I dropped off, while she remained with him to thefinish.
The race is very well organized, the course is great, FLAT, and similar to NYC in that it goes through many ethnic neighborhoods. Good crowd support if you need that sort of thing..about 1.5 million stepped to the plate to cheer the runners. The entire city goes all out for this event. Nowhere can you walk, ride, or runthrough Chicago without knowing a marathon is coming.
While we didn't see Robert C fall into his finish, there was some coverage on the TV about this, although we didn't see much news afterward. When we left Monday afternoon, he was still in hospital.
Overall, a wonderful weekend and an excellent PR by Harry. Here, here, Isay...let's toast!
Erie Marathon - September 2006
The marathon a month got our september marathon under our belts today,
sunday, in Erie PA.
Ethel Cook had another PR with a 3:47 marathon and took second in her age
group. This is her 5th PR in the marathon this year! She needs to package
what she has been doing and sell it!
Keith Straw led our group with a first in his age group and another 3:20
marathon - call him mr. Consistent. Oh ... Yes, he made more heads turn
with his pink tutu.
Tom Chaves was able to knock out another low four hour marathon (4:06) and
setting his sights on that elusive 4 hour mark this fall. Although this
completed a marathon a month for Tom (actually 13 in twelve months), he is
planning on completing the calendar year.
Overall, the course was flat and did wear on you as the same muscles were
constantly used. Two loops around the Presque Island State Park which is
an inlet surrounded by Lake Erie. Nice small town race with a half
marathon as well. About 6 hour drive (we are on our way back as I type)
but with a group, the time goes fast. Pasta dinner was all you can eat
spaghetti for $5 - can't beat that! We ran into some friends we've met
over the year as well as made new friends at the panera and subway provided
after race activities.
Good luck to all that our getting ready for their fall marathons as well as
other races and events. We'll be at PDR next week ...
Quebec City Marathon - August 27th 2006
As you might have heard, a van full of Fast Trackers headed north to Quebec City last weekend to run in the Quebec City series of races - marathon, half-marathon, and 10k.
Our contingent included marathon finishers Tom Chaves, Ethel Cook, Sylvie Laquerre, & Keith Straw; half-marathon finishers Milo German & Bobbi Kisebach; 10k finishers Terry Clopper-Chaves.
What a great time we had driving up and being hosted by our tour guide Sylvie who shared with us her home town on Saturday as a precursor to the race. Her family also hosted two of our dinners and we are very grateful for that!
The race course was a good one with some head & cross winds on the last 15k or so. Kilometers instead of miles marked the course. After the first hour or so, trying to convert to miles took too much energy and so it was those 'teen' miles were hardly even noticed. Also, the kilometers were going down with every one so it was a great psychological boost to be moving closer to the finish.
Ask any of our travelers for more fun stories although keep in mind that some things that happen in Quebec will stay in Quebec . . . :)
As a result of this trip, we have added a new category - honorary member - to the marathon-a-month club - any one who travels with the marathon-a-month runners on one of the events and participates in any of the events. So, Milo, Bobbi, & Terry are the newest members to the club (of course we'll need to go back through the year to see who else qualifies for this prestige membership level).
Enjoy the pictures on the website if you're interested in seeing some of the fun . . .
What an amazing experience watching runners at M44 (That's mile 44, 18 more than your average marathon!) looking fresh and cheerful, and then again at M89 in the middle of the night, many looking like extras from the "Night of the Living Dead" movie.
But not our Ethel! She did SO well at her first 100 mile endurance run. The weather gods were smiling, but sometimes outright laughing- the temps didn't get nearly as warm as other nearby areas. I think it stayed in the mid 70's. There was a one hour rain squall Ethel ran through that many on the course missed. However rains earlier in the week made much mud on the course and started a blister epidemic that kept the podiatrist very busy. Ethel ran the last 40 miles enduring horrible blistering over much of the bottom of both feet; I hope the photos I took even begin to tell the story on that. While waiting for her at the aid station, I saw horrors that used to be smiling functioning people come through. Some had trouble getting on the scale (7% body weight loss ends the race, weight gain also signals possible health concerns of kidney shut down) and almost everyone at that point stumbled a bit on their way off the scale. One woman wobbled into the aid station with an uneven, wavering gait. She was settled onto a chair, one eager man telling her not to stop or she would never continue. After some soup and a 20 minute rest, it took her 10 minutes to move from a slump to an upright sit, to an edge of the chair sit, to a partially upright stance, to leaning on a friend almost upright, to up and steady, and then off into the night she went following the glow sticks into the woods.
But not our Ethel. She came into the station looking better than some of us after our "long runs". She got on the scale and maneuvered off quite fine thank you. After a few minutes we were off, chatting the last 11 miles as if we were on a run at VF! Never a complaint. Okay, a wince every few miles as yet another blister popped and oozed under her feet. But she kept up a good pace, mostly walking for the sake of the blisters, all the way to the end. The last few miles were a mean trick of hilly, shoe-sucking muddy trail, and then the finish.
Way to go (and go and go and go and go) Ethel. What an amazing feat (and pretty amazing feet). Well done and with incredible fortitude and class. I'm in awe.
Actually, during the awards ceremony, someone actually shouted "Fast Tracks Kicks *ss". Which sort of rhymes but is far less polite, even in an English accent. I'll be having a word with that particular board member sometime soon.
Ok, why the exuberance? Let's have a quick look at the club stats: 25 runners. 5 marathon PRs. 2 Boston Qualifiers. Fastest women's team.
Let's read that again. 25 runners. 5 marathon PRs. 2 Boston Qualifiers. Fastest women's team.
Okay, moving on. There were the enablers - those other marathoners like Pam, Robin and Milo - who were there to cheer us on and remind us that it's fun to be out on the Wilmington river front on a sunny spring morning. Add in other family and friends (too numerous to mention because I'm bound to miss someone) and some local bands with local celebrity rock stars (yes, Bill Copleman and Gary Fanelli were there). Fuel it all with enthusiastic water stops and some of the best post-race nosh around. Then top it off with the cutest kids run. And you may (if you weren't one of the 30+ Fast Trackers out there) be wondering why Delaware wasn't on your list of places to be at the weekend.
See you next year :-)
Ooh... How about a quick breakdown of those 25 runners. 5 marathon PRs. 2 Boston Qualifiers. Fastest women's team...
Ethel Cook - PR. Boston Qualifier. 9 minutes faster after running 72 miles 3 weeks ago.
Keith Straw - PR. Boston Qualifier. Fastest chiptime man (and fairy) over 50.
Suzanne Koup-Larsen - PR (unless you've been hiding your stats from marathonguide.com)
Frank Angelini - PR in marathon number 2 (about time)
Mike Reese - PR and newest member of Fast Tracks. Welcome to the club Mike.
Tom Chaves - Another month, another marathon!
Janice Lear, Ali Gregro, Christina Di Marco, Michelle Mitchell - Fastest women (defending same title from last year)
Sarah German, Sylvie Laquerre, Carole Rosen, Deb Hall - Perfect manicures
Bobbi Kisebach, Stacy Antoniadis, Linda Barton, Susan Copleman - Great hair day
Rob Di Marco, George Hughes, Bill Miller, Elden Monday - Team Hunk
And if you've added these up and it comes to 26, not 25, that's because Elden kindly stepped in at the last minute and he's not a member of Fast Tracks. Yet.
B&A Trail Marathon
The B&A Trail marathon welcomed four new members to the marathon a month club - Sylvie, Sarah German, Michelle Burkholder, and George Hughes. Along with Keith, Ethel, and Tom we all finished the chilly marathon with one agegroup award (Keith) and one PR (Sylvie). Sarah and Michelle, two of our Boston marathon qualifiers, had the discipline to stick to their plan ofr unning the first 21 miles and then walking the rest in to not overdue their training. They did kick it in the last 200 yards and looked refreshed as they crossed the finish line.
The day started with our alarms going off at 3:30 am (are we crazy or what?) and having two cars leaving at 4:30 am for the 2 hour drive to Severna Park, MD. The race started on time and was run predominantly on a
rails to trails path. Two slight hills and out and back sections had us being able to check the status of our comrades throughout the race.
Our honorary marathon a month member Milo was there to cheer us on and provide change of clothing for those who might have needed it.
The post race food was elaborate with pizza, chips, bananas, cookies, and other goodies.
We capped off our eating at a local restaurant where we had hot food and some beer.
We're heading back north as I write this message. Overall a good day had by all and an additional 7 marathon medals to the 2006 Fast Tracks results
Next up ... Keith and Ethel are doing the HAT run (50k) on March 25th and Tom is scheduled for the Ocean Drive marathon on March 26th and looking for other participants as there is also a 10 miler.
Austin Marathon - February 2006
This is one to bookmark for the future. It was way too cold, but a phenomenal course. 25 Olympic hopefuls successfully qualified for Olympic trials there on Sunday. I read that their coaches chose it because the new course this year could indeed be one of the fastest courses in the world. It was- it was a point to point completely downhill course with a tail wind the entire way. (one tricky area at miles 22-24). All I am hearing about now are stories of people taking 10-20 minutes off their PR's. I must admit that one member of our FT group did perceive it to be a bit more difficult with uphills- but I was unaware of them.
Every marathon has a story- but I will not bore y'all with the details of mine.
Congrats to all of my traveling companions.
And additional congrats to Ethel and Keith who pulled off some stellar PR's.
From Keith . . .
Now that my body has got back to a normal 98.2 degrees (as suggested by Cutnell, John D. & Kenneth W. Johnson. Physics. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley, 1995:392) I can think more clearly, and have to thank Carole for instigating a weekend that brought 5 FastTrackers together for a great running adventure this side of the Arctic circle.
Here are 8 facts:
1) Harry knocked off a quick half marathon to complete a Texas business trip (as you do). Tom advanced his marathon-a-month quest. Carole hung on to a second ever best time after running a gutsy 15 miles with the 3:50 pace group. Ethel took another PR, her fourth this year - two 5ks, and two marathons. And I got a Tutu PR, it was just too cold to hang around.
2) Austin can be brutally cold. As Tom said, we started in 27 degrees.
3) The course is point to point and the icy wind was at our backs. The web site shows PR's were toppling all over the place.
4) Austin can be brutally hot. Last year was in the 80's and local athletes I spoke to ran 30 minutes faster than last year.
5) A bunch of Olympic hopefuls qualified for the trials.
6) I shared the plane ride from Chicago to Philly with two elite female athletes, Elizabeth and Barbara:
7) Elizabeth qualified for the Olympic trials with a 2:46. Our two hour conversation showed that we both do the same stuff, only she does it faster. She'd read about me in Runners World (how cool is that) and we swapped strategies. Buy me a beer at the Susan B for the inside scoop to take chunks off your marathon time.
8) Barbara was returning from vacation after a stunning track season in 2005. She was recently voted Female Athlete Of the Year by the Philadelphia Masters Track & Field Association. Buy her a beer at the Susan B , and ask Mz Leighton for the scoop on slashing your track times...
P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon
Keith, Tom and I ran the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Terry
walked the half marathon in Phoenix on Sunday. We all finished and enjoyed the
sunny and 70 degree weather.
Everyone knows the number 1 rule for running marathons. Never do anything new
the night before or on marathon day. I guess some rules are meant to be broken.
I started by having Chinese for dinner Saturday night instead of pasta. Mainly
because with over 30,000 runners looking for a place to eat, it was the only
restaurant we could get into before 8:00. The food was delicious but I had
concerns about how my body would react.
Next, I had to decide what to wear for the marathon. I have many shirts that
I've worn on long runs. But as Milo will tell you, I have some quirks. One of
them is that I am a die-hard Steelers fan. I normally avoid races that conflict
with football. And Sunday was not a normal football Sunday, it was the playoffs
and my Steelers were playing. Because of the time difference I would be running
during most of the game. And when the Steelers play, I have to wear my Steelers
jersey. (If they lose it could be because I wasn't wearing my jersey). So, I
ran the marathon in my Bettis jersey. The furthest I've ever run in my jersey
before was to the refrigerator to get a beer. I was afraid of chafing or that it
would be too hot. I rubbed bag balm over every inch of my upper body. It ended
up being a cool day and the bag balm did it's job. I had no problems. I got
lots of positive comments and cheers from the crowd. And after the game started,
spectators were yelling the score to me as I passed.
I had a great time. The only way I could have enjoyed myself more was if I was
watching the game. I had a great weekend with good friends and I ended up with a
PR (4:16) and best of all, the Steelers won (and I saw the last 5 mins of the
game). It just doesn't get any better.
Next month Keith, Tom, Carole and I are off for Austin, TX for the Freescale
Austin Marathon on February 19. They also have a half-marathon and we would love
to have you join us.
NYC Marathon - 11/5/2006
Yesterday I had by far the most amazing experience of my lifetime. I ran the NYC Marathon.
While it is all still fresh in my head, let me get out all the details. If you want to hear them, you can stop reading now!
On Saturday morning hubby & I headed up to NYC, and three train rides later, we were checked into our hotel. I use the word “hotel” loosely, as a hotel in NYC for $300/night is more like a box with a bed & a toilet. Needless to day, we had arrived & headed over to the expo. The hotel was very close to the expo and the spot where I had to catch the bus to the start the next morning (The NYC Public Library), it wasn’t, however, extremely close to Central Park. I’ll get into that later!
The expo, for having over 35,000 runners, was extremely well organized. Actually, the entire race was extremely well organized. I picked up my race packet & my small shirt (which luckily fit me, but the 7ft. man behind me was not happy that all they had left were smalls). We headed back to the hotel & relaxed for a while. Around 6pm we got a taxi over to the pasta dinner at the Tavern on the Green. My life flashed before my eyes driving in a taxi in NYC, and I thought I might never see my family or the finish line of the NYC Marathon the following day. Luckily, we made it in once piece.
The line for the pasta dinner was never-ending, literally. It must’ve been ½ mile long, and I thought we’d be waiting for hours to eat some buffet-style pasta. Much to my surprise, they moved the line along very quickly and were inside & eating in five minutes. In line we met two very nice people, Tim & Shamar, who would prove to be extremely important the remainder of the weekend! We sat & ate with Tim & Shamar, listened to music & danced in our chairs, chatting, and then exchanged contact information for the next morning & headed back to our respective hotels. We went back to the hotel, and I was asleep by 9pm.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:15, and after hitting snooze a few times, I woke up & got dressed for the big event. NYC at 5am is extremely strange. It’s quiet, and peaceful and there are hardly any people out; mostly just marathon runners walking to the library to catch the bus to the start. I got some coffee & a bagel & headed to the bus. The ride to Staten Island was quick, and I got a chance to chat with a man from Ireland who came all the way to the US just to run the NYC Marathon.
Upon arrival to the start, I met up with Tim & Shamar, and we got some coffee, peed a lot, and listened to the blues band from LA play. We caught a quick glimpse of Lance Armstrong’s head just before we entered the bridge for the start of the race (at least I did), and then he was gone!
Onto the bridge for the start, and I could hardly believe all the people. I have never see anything like it. They sang the national anthem, and then the guns went off & we had officially began running the NYC Marathon! I was thrilled. The weather was perfect, I had a good running partner in Tim, who was running my same pace, and I couldn’t believe after all the training & anticipation, it was finally here!
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was incredible, you could actually feel it swaying under your feet with the weight of all the runners pounding on it, and it almost felt like a small earthquake. It was a very strange feeling. If I told you every single detail of all 26.2 miles I would most likely bore you to death, and this would be 20 pages long (Plus, I am sparing Tim reliving the minute details!), so I will just give you the highlights.
Let me start off by saying that there were people lining the streets & cheering the entire 26.2 miles. At some points, people were 10-deep and pushing the barricades screaming & yelling. Every borough we ran through welcomed us. All the children in all the boroughs were holding their hands out for high-fives, some were handing out candy, oranges, water, tissues, Vaseline and every other essential you could imagine. You definitely did not want for anything on the course, and you certainly didn’t need to carry nutrition with you, because it was available everywhere.
Mile 1-10, I felt incredible, not tired, taking in the scenery and the people, listening to the music, danced in the streets, taking my time and jogging along enjoying the race, and chatting with Tim. Tim had a great idea to dedicate each mile to someone special & say why, so we did that almost the entire race. Around mile 4 I saw a man in a pink fairy costume – It was Keith Straw! I started yelling, “Keith Straw, Keith Straw!!!” He heard me, and turned around & yelled “Tina!” and we waved & then he went along his way and I told everyone around me, “I know him”. HA HA.
Mile 10-15, starting to feel a little tired in my legs, but not bad. Stopped through all the water stops to stretch & drink, and used the port-o-pots (which were terribly nasty and I sometimes wonder if people are that nasty in their own homes).
Miles 15-20, more people cheering & yelling, lots of music, saw a soldier running with a tank on his back covered with pictures of fallen soldiers, and it made me tear-up a bit. There was a man running in a Rhino costume with a saying on it that said, “Save the Rhino’s”, I’m still not sure I understand the point of the costume, but he sure did look funny! My husband was supposed to meet me around mile 17 after the Queensborough Bridge, and we had agreed he would stay on my left so we could see each other in the crowds. Unfortunately due to the location of our hotel, it was a logistical impossibility for him to get on my left, so he stayed on the right and unfortunately we missed each other. L He was there with a sign for me & all, but I didn’t see him.
Miles 20-26.2, these were the most incredible miles for me. Since I had taken my pace so easy the first 20 miles, I felt incredible at mile 20. I got some sort of crazy adrenaline kick, and I was ready to pick up the pace. I had ironed my name onto my shirt, and everyone (and I mean everyone) was screaming my name and high-fiving me. For the last 6.2 miles, I must’ve had 4,000 people yell my name & high five me, it was incredible. I mean, I’m no Lance Armstrong, but I certainly did feel like a celebrity. I had a smile the size of Texas on my face the last 6.2 miles. I just could not stop smiling, it was incredible.
Around mile 24 or so, I finally saw my husband!!! There he was, in the crowd, yelling my name & waving . Due to the fact that there were barricades up, I could not get to him & hug him, but he was there & it was so good to finally see him!
I finished with a huge kick, everyone yelling for me, cheering, the crowds were amazing & I could not have asked for a better day or better company running the race. I had completed my 4th marathon; I felt great and had an amazing day! It was truly incredible. I quickly called my parents because I wanted to let my Father know how I made out. My Dad has run several marathons, but he also did NYC in the 80's, and told me what a great race it was. He was so right!!!!!
My official time was 4:53:41. It was my 2nd slowest marathon, but I didn’t do it for time, I did it for the experience. I felt great the entire way, I had plenty of energy after the marathon and thank God I did, because I had to walk 40 blocks from 77th & Central Park West to 38th Street to Penn Station! I got my copy of the NY Times this morning, and highlighted my name in the finishers section. Hopefully I'll have some pictures to share with you at a later time!
Thank you to my husband for traveling with me, standing in the freezing cold for hours on end looking for me, walking all over NYC to try & see me, and putting up with my moaing on the way home. :)